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StanChart eyes investors with mobile bonds app

Standard Chartered Bank Kenya
Standard Chartered Bank Kenya shareholders during a past AGM in Nairobi. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA  

Standard Chartered Bank (Kenya) #ticker:SCBK has launched a mobile platform allowing investors to buy and sell bonds issued by the Kenyan government, marking increased automation of the Sh2.9 trillion treasuries market.

The service is accessible on the bank’s SC Mobile App and makes StanChart the second entity to offer such a platform.

The Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed firm follows a similar move by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) — the government’s fiscal agent — which is mandated to auction bonds and maintain a register of investors in the debt securities.

“Through the SC Mobile App clients will be able to buy or sell local currency government bonds and treasury bills without the hustle of visiting a branch to fill in forms,” StanChart said in a statement.

“The clients will also be able to view the list of available securities to be traded through the SC Mobile App for the trading day, see transaction history for previous deals submitted, and learn more about local government bonds trading through educational page.”

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The StanChart app allows clients to trade bonds with a face value of between Sh100,000 and Sh10 million, a threshold covering transactions by most retail investors and nonbank institutions.

The lender is betting on the service to grow its wealth management business which contributes a significant part of its non-interest income.

StanChart’s service comes soon after CBK announced its own mobile-based bonds trading platform dubbed Treasury Mobile Direct (TMD).

CBK says its solution makes it easier for investors to process transactions in treasuries of Sh140,000 and below.

The moves by StanChart and CBK could potentially take investing in bonds and T-bills to the mass market by eliminating the friction in the current market infrastructure.

Retail investors have been applying for the debt instruments on physical forms that are delivered to CBK branches and currency centres.

They have had to contact the CBK to confirm if their applications were successful and the amounts they are to pay.

The CBK platform will now aggregate all these services and others including request of statements and receipt of the cash value of maturing securities.

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